Thursday, 13 February 2014

Inside The Mind of Ed Davey

The gasman cometh...
So, our Energy Secretary, Lib Dem Ed Davey, is to deliver a rant today (the plan appears to be for it to be a sort of spontaneously angry one) in which he will attack climate change deniers in the Tory Party as "wilfully ignorant, head-in-the-sand, nimbyists" whose "diabolical" dealings have left us prey to the vicissitudes of the extreme weather events of recent weeks. These are, Mr Davey will screech, the result of the global warming that these Tories deny.

Well, indeed, except Mr Davey needs to take a step back and rather than criticise the allies he and his party have been making common cause with for the last four years, perhaps he should take a look in the mirror. What goes on inside that head? How can one man face so many ways at the same time?

He decries the corporate power of the Big Six, but then defends their right and need to make huge profits. He talks about supporting green energy, but puts obstacle after obstacle in its way while signing up to "incentives" for dirty fuels, whether loans for French owned EDF to build nuclear plants, or payments to local councils and communities to encourage fracking to take place.

But of course Mr Davey, as covered here last year, has expressed his amorous feelings for shale gas most fulsomely (see "Having it both ways") and under his watch and with his blessing, the Coalition have now opened up England to be fracked into oblivion by French oil companies and Tory Party donors. Plans are in motion to release around 130 billion tonnes of shale gas into the atmosphere (via various uses) from English wells over the next four decades and beyond. Not only will this damage the countryside, it will do nothing to reduce our carbon emissions - the very cause of man made global warming he professes to be so concerned about.

In addition, the Government under his stewardship of energy policy (and that of his former party colleague Chris Huhne) has committed to building a whole series of new and long term oil and gas powered electricity power plants. This "dash for gas" ties us  in to continuing to burn massive quantities of carbon fuels for decades into the future and makes it nigh impossible to meet our carbon reduction targets for 2050 - a vital milestone if we are to play our part in the global struggle to contain warming at levels that don't threaten to overwhelm humanity.

Similarly, Mr Davey's department has slashed funding and the feed-in tariff for community owned renewable energy schemes (a sharp contrast to the fracking premia). And his "green deal" scheme for energy conservation, as well as having its funding cut, has been a disaster - a Green Party scheme adopted by the local council in the single district of Kirklees had as of last year insulated over 50,000 houses to barely a dozen under the national Government scheme.

So Mr Ed should perhaps calm down - and get some help for his shale addiction before he turns on the dinosaurs in the Tories - after all, some of them almost certainly will in time form the base material for future shale gas, so a little more respect please. Moreover, unlike many of these corporately sponsored backbenchers, he clearly understands the need for action on global warming and as Energy Secretary is just ever so slightly better placed than most of us to do something about it.

Except that he hasn't. And if fact, his actions are likely to have made things that bit worse.

On the other hand, maybe if we can harness the gales of hot air that is so frequently emitted in large quantities from this man's mouth, we could slash our fuel requirements at a stroke.

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